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It's better years late than never.. 54; Librarian is shocked at overdue book.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Staff Reporter

LIBRARIAN Geoff Millington decided on a "softly, softly" approach when the nervous gent confessed: "I'm afraid I've got a book that's overdue."

Geoff, assistant manager at Stetchford's Glebe Farm Library, smiled and assured the customer: "Never mind, Sir - at least you've returned it. That's the main thing."

The man, in his 50s, took a deep breath before blurting: "Actually, it's very overdue. Very, very overdue."

Geoff breezily opened the copy of Teach Yourself Gardening then slammed it shut in astonishment before again scrutinising the dustcover stamp.

It should have been returned on March 7, 1959. The book was a staggering 54 years late.

It has now been placed in a glass cabinet at Glebe Farm - because staff believe it holds the city record for the length of time taken in borrowing a library book, then giving it back.

Keith Dolphin's copy of thriller Master Of Men made headlines in the Birmingham Mail after he discovered it should have been returned 79 years ago.

Geoff believes Glebe Farm's late arrival, handed back some months ago, is more significant because it made the return journey.

"I didn't take the gentleman's name," said 61-yearold Geoff, who has worked for Birmingham library service since 1989.

"He was in his mid-50s, I'd say. I believe there had been a bereavement in the family and that was when the book was discovered."

During the brief counter encounter, Geoff decided to make the customer an offer he couldn't refuse. "I told him he could pay the fine, which would have amounted to around PS5,000, or let us put the book on public display.

"Not surprisingly, he chose the latter. We always try to be polite.

"At the end of the day, well done to him for bringing the book back."

The book is a step-by-step guide to gardening, printed in the 1940s and illustrated with black and white drawings.

Geoff added: "It's in fairly good condition. The pages aren't yellowed, which suggests it's been tucked away somewhere."

"I didn't take the gentleman's name. He was in his mid-50s, I'd say. I believe there had been a bereavement in the family and that was when the book was discovered." GEOFF MILLINGTON


Geoff Millington with the copy of Teach Yourself Gardening and the date due for return in 1959.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 2, 2013
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